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Guyana is a South-American/ Caribbean Country that has about 215.000 square
kilometers of extension and a rich landscape. The country is made up by a
trinity of counties: Demerara, Berbice and Essequibo. In the first one lies
Georgetown, the capital city, which is the usual base for the majority of
visitors to Guyana.
Georgetown is made of tree-lined avenues,
stately colonial structures, and Victorian and Gothic architecture. This extent
of heritage retention owes much to the preservation efforts of the National
Trust and the ability of that body to accommodate changes and modernizations
while retaining much of the integrity of the city’s historic structures. The
Avenue of the Republic, from Brickdam to Church Street, is historical.
Parliament buildings occupy an entire block, standing across Stabroek
Market and the Old Fire Station. Standing on the grounds of Parliament Buildings
and gazing down the busy avenue is the statue of Hubert Nathaniel Critchlow,
father of trade unionism in Guyana. Directly opposite Parliament Buildings to
the north is Georgetown’s oldest church – St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Kirk,
an elegant wooden triumph that has worn very well through the ages. The company
of aged structures is complete with the Victoria Law Courts and High Court
buildings across the street – outstanding expressions of Victorian
architecture. St. George’s Cathedral is located a little way to the Northeast
and it is reputed to be the world’s tallest wooden building.
In route to the Sea Wall Road and Le Meridien Pegasus, Cheddi Jagan Research
Center, known as “Red House”, is also found – an impressive reminder of
the beauty of the uses of wood. The Bank of Guyana, the National Cultural Center
in Homestretch Avenue, regarded as being among the finest of its kind in the
Caribbean, and recently established headquarters of the CARICOM Secretariat on
the Railway Embankment road.
As you head east out of Georgetown and
cross the Abary bridge, you enter the county of Berbice. Known as the “ancient
county”, Berbice overwhelms you with its mix of historic and modern
architecture, teeming market and Mediterranean bazaar ambience of its famous
Coburg Street (New Amsterdam). In 1627 Abraham Van Pere established a small
settlement up the Berbice River, approximately 75 miles from the present town of
New Amsterdam. Fort Nassau, a small wooden fortification was constructed. Early
records described this fortification as one wich was constructed of timber and
surrounded with palisades and armed with a small canon.
The county of Berbice boasts some of
the finest aspects of Guyana’s cultural heritage and it also has a rich
architecture, agricultural and industrial heritage to lush flora and fauna all
with a hint of history.
Blairmont and Skeldon are also famous
for their sugar plantations, which have kept the same sweet sugarcane fields,
the industrial complex, and the domestic quarters of the workers. Nature is set
by the dark black water of Berbice River and for innumerous variety of birds,
such as the national bird Canje Pheasant, macaws and parrots along the river’s
edge, where monkeys may also be seen.
The town of New Amsterdam also has an
interesting mix of architectural merit and history, such as The New Amsterdam
Public Hospital, the Town Hall, and Mission Chapel Congretional Church.
Finally, the county of Essequibo, the
largest one encompassing nearly two-thirds of the Guyana land mass, completes
and deepens the mystery embedded in Guyana’s system. Known as the
“Cinderella county”, it is home of the highest mountain range – the
Pakaraimas; the country’s highest waterfall – Kaieteur Falls; the longest
river – the Essequibo river; the most extensive savannahs – the Rupununi
savannahs; the largest concentration of indigenous peoples and the home of a
thousand varieties of floral and wildlife species and natural treasures. The
best-known centers in Essequibo are Parika and Bartika on the east, Anna Regina
on the west, and Lethem down south.
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